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GE embraces disruption

News, 12 January 2017
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FAIRFIELD, CT: Industrial giant GE has ditched traditional B2B marketing strategies and is instead at the forefront of utilising the latest technologies to showcase its own innovations across the healthcare, transport and energy sectors in which it operates.

"As marketers, we have got to rip up the marketing plan because what looks really good on paper – out-of-home, social, earned media and paid media – is not the way people experience media in their lives," Linda Boff , General Electric CMO, told Marketing Week.

"We need to think about what the new 360-degree marketing is and it needs to be redefined."

For GE, that has meant exploring the possibilities of podcasts, streaming drone footage from GE factories on Facebook Live and partnering with the New York Times to bring virtual reality content to readers.

"Innovation, technology and progress have been in our DNA for 124 years," she said. "We try hard to reach both core and new audiences in ways that underscore that.

"We are pretty disruptive in the way we approach the media," she added, "We have worked with all kinds of non-traditional partners, channels and mediums."

Bots, artificial intelligence, voice automation and augmented reality are all areas currently being assessed for their potential to enable GE to explain its work in new ways.

"We try to find ways to bring it to life, to tell that story in fresh, unexpected, human and relatable ways that don't diminish the fact that we're working on things like bringing electricity to a billion people around the world," said Boff.

'Humanising' technology is central to GE's marketing, which also requires that readers, viewers and listeners come away with something useful.

"When we talk about our storytelling, we think 'what's the value exchange?'," Boff explained. "Someone has given up 20 seconds or 20 minutes of their time but what are they getting in return?.

"Once upon a time, we all said 'content is king', then we said 'distribution is king'. Really it's about the user and how we are serving him or her."

Readers can download related Warc articles on B2B marketing, including Create a B2B content marketing strategy, by Shafqat Islam of Newscred, and Lessons for B2B content marketers, by Philip Trippenbach of Edelman.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff

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